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The Future of Britain.

This is a discussion on The Future of Britain. within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; The problem with UK's military is that the government expects more from the military than they are capable of. The ...


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Old December 25th, 2011   #46
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The problem with UK's military is that the government expects more from the military than they are capable of. The number of men they have is very low considering some of their rivals. They should be considering increasing the number if they want to remain as a world power
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Old December 26th, 2011   #47
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Time to move on

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The problem with UK's military is that the government expects more from the military than they are capable of. The number of men they have is very low considering some of their rivals. They should be considering increasing the number if they want to remain as a world power
I could have posted this in the RAN thread, however, upon reflection I thought it best to include it here. I only hope the Mods agree!

If the UK people aren't prepared to fund the RN to the level that serving members feel they deserve there are only two options; 1) Stay and accept the new British paradigm as a purely contributory power to NATO and the EU or, 2) Leave and come to the RAN, a force which has geography and economic circumstance combining to produce a growing and dynamic Navy.
The RAN already has its traditions and structures aligned to the RN. It has also been extremely fortunate to have experienced fighting with high quality ships and weapons sourced from the US. This has consequently broadened the tactical scope of the navy's leaders.
It would be true to say that up until the purchase of the Charles F Adams DDG's in the late 1960's, the RAN was a carbon copy RN. Initially there was extreme bias by senior RAN officers against the DDG's but gradually their quality as a fighting machine prevailed. A generation of officers served in those ships on detachment to the US 7th Fleet in Vietnam and revelled in their capability. Men such as future Admirals Chris Ritchie, Dave Shackelton and Chris Oxenbould and others subsequently helped to shape the RAN's future acquisitions. Many of this generation also served on exchange with the RN and were able to compare Brit/US weapons, comms and sensors. Their experiences equipped them to choose well.
The Australian government has made plans for a bold expansion in force capability over the next decade. The RAN NEEDS experienced men and women, particularly with aviation and submarine experience, therefor, for those in the RN who ask, "where does my future lie"? I can only answer, stay and tough it out or come and join us in the antipodes.
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Old December 26th, 2011   #48
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The same could be said for all of the Australian services, you look at the present situation were officer production is at an all time low there has not been a real fuss about the affects of that as they can simply bring them in from abroad. I was with a group of British sergeants (army) the other day who had come out to fill the gaps at Holsworthy because they could not get enough of their own Corporals in a position to move up, there general opinion was that it was the start of winding down their careers taking up duties in training and base management as opposed to being on the front line, get a nice house in the local suburbs, get the kids in school then in a few years once they're familiar with the country move out into the civilian workforce. With fields like security being so substantial, especially in the city region, and with the firearms component which you don't see in Britain there is a lot of value for military experience.
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Old December 27th, 2011   #49
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I guess many Britons are overly modest and vastly underrate their influence and importance on the world stage. Even though the defence cuts are hurting at the moment, Britain is still very capable of projecting it's military power anywhere in the world. Iran knows that. So does every other crackpot 3rd world power.
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Old January 27th, 2012   #50
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In the wikipedia I have read that the force of hercules tramsport aircraft have been reduced to 30 ?? , they were originallly nearly 55, so habe been reduced to nearly half bringing the total numers of RAF transport planes to only 30 nearly half the numbers in the french air force
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Old January 27th, 2012   #51
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But on average, much more capable transports. France has C-130, Transall, & CN-235. The UK has C-17, C-130J & some older C-130. One C-17 carry more load than all 14 AdlA CN-235s combined, & even if you disregard the CN-235s, you need to adjust for payload/range. The Transall was a very clever design, maximising payload & volume in proportion to aircraft size (80% of C-130 payload on half the engines), but that was done at the expense of range. For use within Europe, that was not an important limitation, but it is now, when transport fleets are being used over much longer ranges.

You never miss a chance to knock the British forces, do you?
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Old January 28th, 2012   #52
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I'm new to here but wouldn't we be able to get the price of equipment down bye buying more of it like why can't the european countries jointly buy the jsf which would surely bring costs down plus i'd suggest using one main base for training
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Old January 28th, 2012   #53
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You get the unit price of equipment down by buying more, but the total amount you spend still goes up.

There are no discounts for joint buys of JSF. The price depends on when you buy it. The expected overall saving in unit price comes from a large number being produced, thus reducing the unit production cost.
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Old January 30th, 2012   #54
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Interesting that some British feel that their world influence, both militarily and otherwise, has reduced so significantly. I think it's far too readily forgotten that Britain played a pretty pivotol role in some quite major powers, whether they're world powers (i.e. US) or middle powers (i.e. Australia, Canada). That's a long term projection of power through ideals and future allies on a very significant level that nobody else can boast.

Shifting to the current day and it could certainly be argued that there is no longer a requirement for Britain to possess such direct power projection that they once were capable of, and her responsibility ought to lie in her immediate region. To compare to previous capabilities is to ignore the current situation.

Furthermore the long term success of a nation is not generated via a defence force. An offensive force perhaps yet that isn't on the cards anymore. An economic collapse would be far more catastrophic to the defence force than some immediate cuts, and IMO they're taking the right approach. The US is doing similar, it's much better to cut defence spending now and reduce your capabilities than to have it forced upon you down the track and in a much shorter timespan. Sure some might argue they've gone too far but that could be considered simply a matter of opinion.
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Old February 1st, 2012   #55
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Viewed from the outside, it looks like Britain got some terrible defense planning, that has resulted in a lot of money spend on little.

If we look at the french, they got a modern fighter both for airforce and carrier. That appears to be cost effective planning given political constraints. The UK got the EF, and planning on the F35, a project that seems to have had a quite big financial risk.
Maybe it's because I'm not infatuated with airplanes, but it appears to me that one of those systems could do the other's job?

The french have coorporated with the italiens and, untill failure, with the UK on building a large AWD destroyer (horison) and a modern top class missile system (aster). Many of these techs and lessons have been brought on to the FREMM project together with the italiens, one of the largest frigate projects ever. As far as I know the FREMM project is on schedule, on budget and will like deliver a frigates in reasonable numbers.
When the Horizon failed the italiens and french cut the programme due to cost, while the UK went along getting half the units called for at what appears to be at an extreame cost. The ASTER system seems to be orphaned at these six units (a new and, I understand, less cabable system is apparently being developed for future units), while it's the principal AA weapon on all the It and Fr horizonte and FREMM units.
Again given the political constraints, it appears that the french is at least trying to get economy of numbers.

Now I'm not interested in which aircraft, ship or missile etc is the best, or gives best value for money, I am absolutely not saying that it's the french ones, but I am saying that it appears that the french planners are trying to play the hand they were dealt as good - or least stupid - as they can. That's not an impression you get of, particulary, RN planning (selling perfectly good ships for nothing, retireing ships before time, building a capital ship with a view of selling it for scraps etc.)
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Old February 2nd, 2012   #56
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Originally Posted by Palnatoke View Post
Viewed from the outside, it looks like Britain got some terrible defense planning, that has resulted in a lot of money spend on little.

If we look at the french, they got a modern fighter both for airforce and carrier. That appears to be cost effective planning given political constraints. The UK got the EF, and planning on the F35, a project that seems to have had a quite big financial risk.
Maybe it's because I'm not infatuated with airplanes, but it appears to me that one of those systems could do the other's job?
Essentially, EF = designed for agility and air superiority (although called 'multi role' it does seem to be more of a dogfighter - to me anyway) and F-35 = stealthy deep strike aircraft. (Ok, thats kinda dumbed down and doesn't really cover all the bases but you get the point) these aircraft COULD do eachothers job just not very well (and even mentioning putting EF on a carrier is pretty silly).

Look up the F-35 thread and look up about it, comparing it to the EF or Rafale is ridiculous, its streaks ahead anything the French have (or planning to have).

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The french have coorporated with the italiens and, untill failure, with the UK on building a large AWD destroyer (horison) and a modern top class missile system (aster). Many of these techs and lessons have been brought on to the FREMM project together with the italiens, one of the largest frigate projects ever. As far as I know the FREMM project is on schedule, on budget and will like deliver a frigates in reasonable numbers.
When the Horizon failed the italiens and french cut the programme due to cost, while the UK went along getting half the units called for at what appears to be at an extreame cost. The ASTER system seems to be orphaned at these six units (a new and, I understand, less cabable system is apparently being developed for future units), while it's the principal AA weapon on all the It and Fr horizonte and FREMM units.
Again given the political constraints, it appears that the french is at least trying to get economy of numbers.
The AA varient of the FREMM - FREDA - will be built in very small numbers (looking at Wiki, the French are having 2 and the Italians aren't having any), and they carry less Asters, 16 less to be precise.

FREMM is a multi-role frigate platform and as such will be slightly handicapped against a role-specific destroyer such as the T45 even in an air-defence configuration and i expect its radar will not be as capable as SAMPSON so for air defence, the T45 would be more effective.

A better comparison to the FREMM would be the coming T26 frigate as comparing a dedicated AA ship against a multi-role system isn't particularly fair and the system which you described as 'less capable' i assume is CAMM? Which isn't coming in as a 'downgrade' of Aster but an 'upgrade' of the SeaWolf missiles aboard the T23 (and later T26) although I do appreciate there will be no AA T26.

(Old FREMM thread but give it a read through New details on FREMM AAW variant )

Ultimately, we do put in a large amount of money and come out with generally few ships to show for it, but what we do come out with is pretty good.
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Old February 2nd, 2012   #57
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Essentially, EF = designed for agility and air superiority (although called 'multi role' it does seem to be more of a dogfighter - to me anyway) and F-35 = stealthy deep strike aircraft. (Ok, thats kinda dumbed down and doesn't really cover all the bases but you get the point) these aircraft COULD do eachothers job just not very well (and even mentioning putting EF on a carrier is pretty silly).

Look up the F-35 thread and look up about it, comparing it to the EF or Rafale is ridiculous, its streaks ahead anything the French have (or planning to have).



The AA varient of the FREMM - FREDA - will be built in very small numbers (looking at Wiki, the French are having 2 and the Italians aren't having any), and they carry less Asters, 16 less to be precise.

FREMM is a multi-role frigate platform and as such will be slightly handicapped against a role-specific destroyer such as the T45 even in an air-defence configuration and i expect its radar will not be as capable as SAMPSON so for air defence, the T45 would be more effective.

A better comparison to the FREMM would be the coming T26 frigate as comparing a dedicated AA ship against a multi-role system isn't particularly fair and the system which you described as 'less capable' i assume is CAMM? Which isn't coming in as a 'downgrade' of Aster but an 'upgrade' of the SeaWolf missiles aboard the T23 (and later T26) although I do appreciate there will be no AA T26.

(Old FREMM thread but give it a read through New details on FREMM AAW variant )

Ultimately, we do put in a large amount of money and come out with generally few ships to show for it, but what we do come out with is pretty good.
While I am not interested in discussing the better plane, I am just noting that the french have designed their fighter to answer the needs of the airforce as well as the navy. I think that makes sense, most tax payers would agree to the simple logic of developing, operating (and paying the price of) one and not two airplanes..

I think the FREDA version can carry a mix of 48 aster 15&30 in it's launcher and will have an improved version of the herakles radar, which is a highly modern radar developed by a (or the) leader in the field (Thales). The herakles is a bit different than thales's APAR, Smart-L radar or the Sampson, in that those two systems has an active phazed array radar and a volumne search radar, while the herakles is "only" an active phazed array (I believe). Such things has it's pros and cons. As I understand it the herakles can operate the ASTER 30 to it's full potential, though, again as I read the text , it won't give the same long range surveillance as the APAR-Smart-l or Sampson, but the french also got carrier based AEW units so maybe that's not needed?

The FREDA is the "cost-effective" answer to the Horizon/Type45 failures (I consider them both expensive failures), as you might know Fr and It. stopped the Horizon project due to spiralling costs, leaving the navy short of targetted number of AAW units, and the FREDA is filling the gap.

"Ultimately, we do put in a large amount of money and come out with generally few ships to show for it, but what we do come out with is pretty good"
But that's the problem and bad planning and bad handling of (and national centric) industry policies seems to be at fault.
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Old February 2nd, 2012   #58
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While I am not interested in discussing the better plane, I am just noting that the french have designed their fighter to answer the needs of the airforce as well as the navy. I think that makes sense, most tax payers would agree to the simple logic of developing, operating (and paying the price of) one and not two airplanes..
True, but the Rafale isn't as capable at either air superiority or ground attack when compared to the EF or F-35, also it isn't a case of the better plane its a case of the more appropriate plane. We cannot make a Sea Typhoon so what choice do we have but to buy in a second aircraft as Harrier was going to be a technological dead end so it makes complete sense to me seeming as the development costs and incredibly high production costs (as Sea Typhoon would have 'naff export potential) for such a low production number would make any savings worthless for a less capable aircraft. Typhoon was after all designed to operate from land, not carriers.

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I think the FREDA version can carry a mix of 48 aster 15&30 in it's launcher and will have an improved version of the herakles radar, which is a highly modern radar developed by a (or the) leader in the field (Thales). The herakles is a bit different than thales's APAR, Smart-L radar or the Sampson, in that those two systems has an active phazed array radar and a volumne search radar, while the herakles is "only" an active phazed array (I believe). Such things has it's pros and cons. As I understand it the herakles can operate the ASTER 30 to it's full potential, though, again as I read the text , it won't give the same long range surveillance as the APAR-Smart-l or Sampson, but the french also got carrier based AEW units so maybe that's not needed?
Nope, FREDA can carry 32 Asters, at least thats according to this article anyway

Mer et Marine : Frégates : Le point sur les futures FREDA

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The first difference, not visible, will be boarding a Herakles multifunction radar more powerful than FREMM. This equipment, produced by Thales and lookout 3D surface and the day before the fire control for missiles Aster, will likely have a range exceeding 250 km. Performance must meet the requirements of air defense and the implementation of Aster 30 missiles, whose range is up to a hundred kilometers. The main armament of FREDA will, as such, consisting of 32 missiles Aster 30 and Aster 15. The Navy will mix at its discretion staffing missiles, vertical launch planned for the FREDA being Sylver A50. Designed by DCNS, these launchers can take either the short-range missiles (4 meters long) and medium-range (4.8 meters long). The four Sylver A50 launcher will replace the two Sylver A43 (only for Aster 15) and two Sylver A70 (for cruise missiles Scalp Naval) of FREMM. Staffing will be significantly lower than on the Horizon frigates (32 Aster 30 and Aster 16 15 A50 for six launchers).
The last sentence appears to indicate that Horizon could carry 48, but not FREDA. (Its gone through Google translate so thats why the grammars a bit crap)

True, it might not be as neccesary but it seems a bit more of a risk not having such a system mounted on FREDA to supplement Herakles , but i guess that'd be the situation in a perfect world.

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The FREDA is the "cost-effective" answer to the Horizon/Type45 failures (I consider them both expensive failures), as you might know Fr and It. stopped the Horizon project due to spiralling costs, leaving the navy short of targetted number of AAW units, and the FREDA is filling the gap.

"Ultimately, we do put in a large amount of money and come out with generally few ships to show for it, but what we do come out with is pretty good"
But that's the problem and bad planning and bad handling of (and national centric) industry policies seems to be at fault.
Thats my issue with FREDA, it was essentially a 'stop-gap' vessel and therefore isn't as capable as what Horizon should have been at its peak (had it not been mis-managed). But personally for me, i'd rather have an expensive very capable series of ships rather than plan one, quit the program and end up with a less capable ship than you would have had. Of course either way it would have drawn negative flak from the media. Imagine if the media found out the capabilities of the T45 and discovered we went for a 'foreign' ship which is less capable purely because it was cheaper, they would have a field day claiming that the UK doesn't value its shipbuilding industry or saving jobs or whatever.

I suppose thats the advantage of FREMM, so many are being built its cheaper to bolt on Aster to a general-purpose design to make it an AAW. But I have to say if it was a choice of either sticking with 6 T42s, 6 FREDAs, 6 AAW T26 or 6 T45s, I'd go with the T45.

I wouldn't say it was 'national centric', true we like to produce most of the stuff we use and true we could have got it cheaper if we shopped around. But we have a skilled workforce capable of producing amazing ships, its the 'fat cats' at the top who make the stupid decisions that's the trouble.
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Old February 2nd, 2012   #59
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Rafale. Interesting plane. France always had a carrier plane as part of the design and that I believe was one of the reasons they went one way and the EF group ended up going the other. I think the Rafale works in missions like Afgah and Libya, its fine in those sort of environments.

Who knows what a sea Typhoon would be like as a carrier aircraft, but I would guess it would be a crap compromise. Why bother (other than to soak up EF units). Why do that when the futuristic F-35, which will be operated by nearly everyone is coming on line and will be worth every sense.

Honestly I think the British should look at american technologies and partnerships and avoid these euro centric initiatives. I think the Brits have more in common with the US in terms of military than with the euros..
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Old February 3rd, 2012   #60
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While I am not very keen on discussing "the better plane" I don't think that the Case "Rafale" is worse than the "EF" Or "JSF" for that matter, has been made.
For a start Rafale is, on a number of dimensions, clearly the better plane vs. the EF for the french; F.ex. that it can operate from their carrier - hopefully CarrierS in the future - a cabability that the EF just doesn't have.
As britain is planning on having a real carrier - hopefully carrierS, in the future - it appears to me that the EF is not ideal for britain, given a premise that one wishes to reduce the number of different platforms in service (to decrease costs).


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Honestly I think the British should look at american technologies and partnerships and avoid these euro centric initiatives. I think the Brits have more in common with the US in terms of military than with the euros..

Yeah, I am sure that american defense contractors would think that is a good idea.
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